The Roving Shadows (The Seagull Library of French Literature) (Paperback)
The first book in Pascal Quignard’s Last Kingdom series, The Roving Shadows can be read as a long meditation on reading and writing that strives to situate these otherwise innocuous activities in a profound relationship to sex and death. Writing and reading can in fact be linked to our animal natures and artistic strivings, to primal forces and culturally persistent fascinations. With dexterity and inventiveness, Quignard weaves together historical anecdotes, folktales from the East and West, fragments of myth, and speculative historical reconstructions. The whole, written in a musical style not far removed from that of Couperin, whose piano composition Les Ombres errantes lends the book its title, coheres into a work of literature that reverberates in the psyche long after one has laid it down.
The Roving Shadows is a rare and wondrous tour de force that cements Quignard’s reputation in contemporary world literature. Available now in English, this boldly adventurous work will find a new and welcoming audience.
Chris Turner is a translator and writer living in Birmingham, UK. He has translated numerous books from French and German, including, for Seagull Books, titles by Jean-Paul Sartre, Roland Barthes, André Gorz, Yves Bonnefoy, and Pascal Quignard, among others.